The Magic Castle in Hollywood has been a private club for magicians since 1963, and its walls are lined with portraits of magicians past and present. Among them is a portrait of one of the earliest American organized crime bosses and conmen, Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. And though it may seem strange that this "mecca of magic" honors a criminal, Soapy's legacy reveals just how blurry the line is between a delightful trick and a dirty one.
When Melinda Dawson was seven years old, she learned that she was adopted under mysterious circumstances. As she got older and had children of her own, she tried to learn something about her biological parents. And when she went to the county courthouse and asked to see a copy of her birth certificate, she discovered that she was an unwitting participant in something much bigger and more complicated than she could have imagined.
SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 51: Money Tree before you listen to this one. While working on our last episode, we became curious about the nature of psychopathy -- how it is defined, and what to do if someone close to you meets the criteria. We spoke with Dr. Ronald Schouten, author of Almost a Psychopath, and Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test.